GEL-Kayano 25 – An Independent Guest Review

The GEL-Kayano 25 appears more streamlined than its predecessor and it feels more responsive.

A high-performance shoe, the Kayano prides itself on fatigue protection, impact reduction and rebound response. It’s a highly adaptive shoe that is suitable for both efficient high mileage individuals, as well as those who are slower or poorly conditioned. The GEL-Kayano does this by keeping fundamental strength features whilst refining upper and midsole materials to offer great performance.

Some updated features are noticeable to the runner in motion:

The Contact phase of gait can be described as secure both structurally and sensorially. The feel of cushioning at impact is immediate but is followed by one of motion containment. The ankle and subtalar region is secured transversely and frontally. It is a result of combined materials that yield to dampen foot force. The lateral FlyteFoam midsole deforms mildly to attenuate shear and vertical force, while the rear GEL dampens impact further. Directly above, the upper external heel counter encapsulates the rearfoot firmly and reduces any excessive kinematic rippling. The padded internal heel counter custom cups the individual’s heel architecture to give further proprioceptive support. This contact phase impact response is not dampened by one portion of the shoe alone; it feels like a coordinated approach by the outsole/midsole/upper.

The Midstance phase feels familiar to predecessor Kayano offerings – torque resistant and nofuss transitioning. There is no sudden block feeling as the foot transitions through this often awkward phase. During running, the arch feels like it can lengthen unencumbered with the midsoles flex. The under sole Trusstic though allows for enough deformation before stiffening the shank as the body transfers over the shoe.

This phase demonstrates the standout quality of the Kayano. If one is running fatigued, slow and with poor flow in midstance – they will feel a strong sense of protection in this injury prone phase. The upper doesn’t allow one to slide off the shoe laterally, the midsole doesn’t have you travelling further into pronation and the Trusstic gives your foot rebound torque to help lift the heel cleanly forward. Oppositely, when running fit, fast and landing with a more accelerative speed and greater height – you feel a good sense of unencumbered pick-up in this midstance phase. The shoe midsole doesn’t dampen excessively under forefoot and lose any rebound energy (this is the function of the new Propel Flytefoam material). The Trusstic doesn’t protrude when not required and the upper moulds instead of restricting 1st ray fast flexion. Propulsive gait feels easy because the parts of the shoe that have provided contact and midstance roles have delivered a smooth progression to this phase. The upper is strong laterally but is empathetic in sagittal toe extension.

The GEL-Kayano 25 is a shoe that deserves its place as Asics flagship model. It is extremely difficult to create a product that is highly protective as well as amazingly responsive. Normally one negates the other and most shoes have a degree of speciality as either protective or performance. Being king at both is what makes Kayano a stand out shoe time and time again.

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